Paul Magnanti’s 2009 thru-hike of the Benton MacKaye Trail; with journal, photos and trip planning information.
To walk. To see. To see what you see.
–Benton MacKaye on the purpose of the Appalachian Trail.
In 2009, I became a casualty of the economic recession: I was laid off.
My first thought? What mountains are relatively snow free in February?
My mind wandered and I thought of the Benton MacKaye Trail .
At 300 miles, it is the perfect length to thru-hike before obligations in early March occur.
The BMT meanders through a part of the southern Appalachians that is a bit more isolated and less well traveled than the more famous Appalachian Trail.
During my time on the BMT, I hope to again see the subtle beauty of the southern Appalachians. A land of thick forests, flowing creeks and mist forming over the hill sides. It will not be like the Rockies…and for that I am grateful.
I’ll return to the place where I more or less started my current life. I will again look north and follow a long brown path. Last time it lead me to moving out to Colorado and starting a new life. Who knows where the path will lead this time?
A NOTE ON GEAR: I realize there are a lot of gear wonks out there. My BMT gear is very similar to my CDT 2006 gear. The only major change is that since I was hiking in shoulder season, I took a generic nylon rain shell instead of the Wisp, wore an additional fleece hat and I swapped in an army liner jacket for an extra layer of warmth (it was freakin’ cold! :D. Thanks to Sgt Rock for the loaner! ). If my CDT gear was ~8-9 lbs, my BMT gear was ~9-10lbs.